Witness credibility in an accident claim

Most accident scenes are chaotic and issues that receive immediate attention are those that actually indicate a loss in one way or the other. Are there any fatalities? What is the extent of damage to the cars involved? It is natural for all those involved to want to seek help and top on the list of those who receive the first call are law enforcement officers and paramedics.

While making these crucial calls is important in improving your chances of survival or getting a worthy settlement, it should not be at the expense of making the situation worse. Insurance companies who are tasked with paying accident victims will often look for a way out of meeting this obligation. If moving around for help or to gather evidence will cause more injury to the victims or further damage to property, stop! It is not worth losing the claim over it.

A practical way in which you can help your claim is to identify witnesses who might just add the value you need to your personal accident lawyer. Every car accident lawyer Atlanta practitioner will reiterate the importance of having as many details on the report as possible. Do you feel too weak to talk to the witnesses yourself? Contact your attorney or close friends to do it; better still, take their contacts and ask to call them later for an eyewitness account of the accident.

Are witnesses really necessary?

A witness may be the only unbiased person present at the scene of an accident. Especially in situations where two cars with lone occupants are involved, it is the witness accounts that cements the truth. Even a driver at fault never takes responsibility for the accident and often cases with no witnesses go on and on without a logical conclusion. When you find a witness to back up your claim, your chances of winning the case are higher if the court finds no association of any kind between the two of you. That is where witness credibility comes into play. In the event that the court has ruled that the witness before it does not stand to gain anything from its ruling, the next burden of proof is on their credibility.

Typically, a car accident witness just happens to be within the scene of an accident, going about their business so there is no deliberate attempt to record events happening around them. The case may be even more complicated for a witness who at the time of the accident was driving their own car. The reason car accident lawyer Atlanta practices visit witnesses within hours of an accident is the realization that time flies when an accident has just happened. Drivers and pedestrians often take for granted the details that are around them especially if it is on a route they use regularly. It is the split-second observations and reactions leading up to an accident or in the few seconds after an accident that acts as evidence in a motor vehicle accident case. Does the law take all reports of witnesses as fact? No! All witnesses can file a report but not all are credible. These are some of the factors that affect credibility;

a)  Location and view of the witness in relation to the scene of the accident – is the distance from where the witness to the accident location close enough to see details on the car or occupants? Was the level of human activity around on a level that could have blocked the visibility of the witness? If answers asked a witness to ascertain accuracy are answered with uncertainty, the credibility of their testimony will be questionable.

b) Activity the witness was engaged in before and during the accident – in the event that a street vendor standing in their stall facing the accident scene gave one account of an accident and a driver on the same road but focused on avoiding the accident scene, gave testimony, the street vendor’s account would be more believable. How? While the street vendor was not waiting for the accident to happen, their circumstances allowed them to focus on the scene as it unfolded.

c) The duration of time through which the eyewitness observed the accident – was there any particular aspect of the cars that made the witness to observe them way before the accident happened or were they drawn to view the direction from which noise of the impact originated from? In both instances, the witness saw the first few minutes of the accident but the account from the long observation could give answers to questions that even the car accident lawyer, Atlanta would be unable to find answers for.

d) The discussion among onlookers once the accident had taken place – at any accident scene, provided it is within reach of people, a crowd is bound to gather. While most people in this crowd are passers-by curious to know what is happening, some will have observed the events leading up to an accident.

A credible eyewitness at an accident scene should be certain of the details they share about the event and as you narrow down on the one that will be of most help to your case, bear in mind that the law will consider their criminal record, state of mind, main activity at the time of accident and even their state of health.